Best Specialty Store - Mass Street Soda

Best Specialty Store - Mass Street Soda

“We get to introduce people to things they haven’t tried before. People are generally open to trying new things.”

These are the words of Mass Street Soda manager Maren Ludwig. The things she’s referring to? Soda — over 1,300 kinds of soda when the shop is at maximum capacity. This includes root beers, colas, Harry Potter-inspired butterbeer, fruity sodas, tart sodas and hundreds more.

“It’s a lot of fun because it’s an environment that entire generations can enjoy, like young kids obviously like seeing all the different varieties and trying something different,” Ludwig said. “We also have grandparents that bring their grandsons or granddaughters in once a week and introduce them to the soda that they drank as a child, which is cool.”

One generation that enjoys soda from the three-year-old Mass Street Soda shop are those who attend the University, including employee CJ Stuever, a senior from Lawrence.

“My job is fun because I’m required to try everything and I get paid to drink soda, so that’s not a terrible thing either,” Stuever said.

Stuever, who will celebrate one year of employment at the shop in May, said one of the best parts of Mass Street Soda, in his opinion, is the alternative space it provides students.

“Not everybody is necessarily attracted to the bar scene,” Stuever said. “So having a place for people who want to come and sit down at a ‘bar’ and watch a game or something and not necessarily be in a place where music is blaring and you can’t hear the person next to you, I think makes it a fun place.”

The shop offers a special on Wednesday to college students who present a student ID. This special allows them to upgrade any very un-boring soda to something even better by adding ice cream for no additional cost and making it a float.

Ice cream upgrades and a “chiller” that will cool any soda in under a minute are only a few of the surprises waiting behind the doors of the 1103 Mass St. location.

“The most surprising part, it’s either a person seeing a soda they haven’t seen in years,” Ludwig said. “Or maybe just the sheer number of sodas we have.”

Edited by Mara Kubicki